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The List Of The Rare Military Challenge Coins

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November 09, 2023

The Rare military challenge coins are some of the most coveted pieces of memorabilia for active military personnel, enthusiasts, and veterans.

While they appear outwardly simple, the Rare military challenge coins are a source of pride and a reminder of sacrifices made and achievements earned while on duty, and military personnel usualy proudly display them as a symbol of honor, and unwavering dedication to service.

For enthusiasts, collecting Rare military challenge coins is a fun and fulfilling hobby. Not only can they make connections with fellow enthusiasts, and shine a light on the sacrifices of those serving the country, but it also, acts as an investment that can be resold later.

 

What Are Some of The  Rare Military Challenge Coins?

Let’s explore "The List of The Rare Military Challenge Coins," including the stories behind them and the significance they hold.

 

1.US Army Diver Coin

US Army Diver Coin

Image Source: We Are the Mighty

Deep sea diving is an extremely difficult job and to recognize their achievement, the Commander of the US Army Deep Sea Diver School awards this  —highly sought-after — coin to a few very special divers.

Shaped like a vintage diving helmet and approximately 1.5 inches in diameter, the US Army Diver Coin has a very nice bronze finish and features a Military Diving Insignia.

 

2.Aggressive POW-MIA Coin

Aggressive POW-MIA Coin

Image Source: Challenge Coin

The Aggressive POW-MIA coin is a way to stand in solidarity with Prisoners of War( POWs) and those missing in action (MIA).

These coins have the following key features: the American flag, Images representing POWs or MIAs, and the National League of POW/MIA Families emblem, and the words “POW-MIA" are featured prominently.

The coin serves as a strong reminder of the sacrifices men in Uniform have to make in the line of duty.

 

3.Medal of Honor Military Challenge Coin

Medal of Honor Military Challenge Coin

Image Source: US Mint

A symbol of bravery, selflessness, and valor, this Medal of Honour military challenge coin honors men and women in the American military who have gone beyond the call of duty. Unlike other Military challenge coins, it’s not a unit coin and is not associated with a specific branch.

It’s also quite rare  —likely in the possession of recipients or collectors  —because The United States Congress limited the period for coin issuance to the calendar year 2011.

 

4.Trample the Weak Coin

Trample the Weak Coin

Image Source: Noble Medals

 

This coin is awarded to select members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. They are typically more aggressive than other armed forces units. With the words “Trample the Weak” proudly emblazoned on the coin, it aptly represents the strength of this military unit.

The military unit was established in 1915 and serves as part of the United States' military presence in Europe.

 

5.The Mickey Mouse Challenge Coin

The Mickey Mouse Challenge Coin

Image Source: Task and Purpose

This coin is awarded by the Walt Disney Company to military veterans who work for the entertainment giant. Available in various variations of Mickey Mouse, It pays homage to the bravery and sacrifice of veterans.

The company officially sanctions these coins as a way to support the military as well as families and veterans.

 

6.Southpark Military Challenge Coin

Southpark Military Challenge Coin

Image Source: USO

The South Park Military Challenge Medal parodies the popular show with the same name. The coin comes with different humorous slogans that poke fun at different parts of the military.

It features different elements of the show intertwined to create humor and creativity.

 

7.Career Commendation Medal From the Central Intelligence Agency

Career Commendation Medal From the Central Intelligence Agency

Image Source: Medal Book

The Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) is by nature a very secretive organization. Veterans of the organization have to stay true to their oaths of secrecy well into retirement.

The career commendation medal from the Central Intelligence Agency is one of the only ways to recognize the efforts of veterans without compromising national security.

 

8.Friday the 13th Challenge Coin

Friday the 13th Challenge Coin

Image Source: Custom Challenge Coins

The Friday the 13th Challenge coin is awarded to Navy Petty Officers on Friday the 13th to commemorate their acceptance into the Chief Petty Officers mess hall.

It has a unique shape for a military challenge coin and prominently displays symbols associated with the United States Navy.

 

9.B-52 Bulldog Challenge Coin

B-52 Bulldog Challenge Coin

Image Source: Reddit

The B-52 Bulldog Challenge Coin was specifically awarded to distinguished gunners who fought with valor during World War II as a tribute to courage, resilience, and legacy and is currently one of the most prized rare military challenge coins.

This is because the position of the tail gunner was eliminated when the Air Force deactivated the B-52's gunner positions and tailguns, hence stopping the award of this coin. The few existing ones are passed down as family heirlooms making it difficult to find on the open market and hence increasing the value of the available ones.

 

10.Checkpoint Charlie Berlin Challenge Coin

Checkpoint Charlie Berlin Challenge Coin

Image Source: Coin Value Checker

Checkpoint Charlie was the nickname of the most popular Berlin Wall crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War. The checkpoint was a physical representation of the difference between the free world and the oppressive Soviet regime.

The Checkpoint Charlie Berlin Challenge Coin coin typically 1.5 to 1.75 inches in diameter was awarded to military personnel who manned the crossing towards the end of the Cold War as a lasting symbol of service, dedication, and historical importance

Given that the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie no longer exist, the coin is extremely Rare and valuable.

 

Why are Rare Military Challenge Coins Coveted?

Like most things in life, the rarity of military challenge coins can significantly influence their value and importance within civilian and military culture. The rarity of military challenge coins matters for the following reasons:

 

  1. Collectibility: Rare military challenge coins are sought after by collectors and military enthusiasts. Unique designs and low production numbers are factors that are more likely to pique the interest of collectors.
  2. Historical Significance: Events that stand out in history are rare so it stands to reason that military challenge coins that mark such events would have to be rare too. They serve as tangible artifacts that preserve the memory of past achievements, sacrifices, and traditions within the military.
  3. Symbolism: Rare military challenge coins carry enormous symbolism. For example, the US Army Diver Coin tells a story of courage and resilience in a task that mere mortals can shy away from. Moreover, these coins represent exclusivity, excellence, or accomplishment. Recipients of Rare challenge coins often feel a heightened sense of pride and honor, knowing that they possess something unique and highly valued.
  4. Status and Prestige: Receiving a Rare coin can signify a high level of recognition and prestige within the military hierarchy. In an often secretive world, it is an outward show of the recipient's outstanding contributions and elevates their status among their contemporaries.
  5. Tribute To The Fallen: Challenge coins can serve as symbols of remembrance and tribute. Military missions take a toll but coins can be used to remember fallen comrades, honoring the sacrifices made in service to the nation and ensuring that their memory lives on in history.
  6. Morale and Motivation: A Rare challenge coin can serve as a powerful incentive for military personnel to strive for excellence and distinguish themselves through their performance, leadership, or bravery.

 

History of Military Challenge Coins and What It Represents.

 

Fun fact: Did you know military challenge coins aren't just for the Military? They are also awarded to government officials, veterans' issues advocates, Defense contractors, first responders, and even military families as tokens of appreciation for their contributions to the military.

 

Military challenge coins have a long history and date back to World War I. Over time, challenge coins have become widespread across various branches of the military and have evolved to represent different aspects of military service. This could include:

  • Membership of elite units of the military.
  • Recognition of exemplary service, acts of valor, or achievement while serving the country.
  • Promotion or retirement of service members.
  • Special events or anniversaries.
  • The tradition of Espirit De Corps -the feeling of unity, pride, and shared purpose.

 

Military challenge coins are typically custom-designed with unit insignias, mottos, or other symbols relevant to the military unit or achievement they commemorate.

 

Bottom Line

These coins hold incredible symbolic value beyond their practical or material purpose. This value goes beyond literal interpretation. A coin’s symbolic value can also vary based on several factors such as culture, history, and personal contexts.

With such incredible importance attached to Rare military challenge coins, keeping the culture of creating and passing them along is important. When military challenge coins pass from one person to another, they also carry the history, personal sacrifices, and pride of the person who earned them.

Check on our website to see our collection of military coins.

 

 

Resources and Links

1. U.S. Department of Defense. (n.d.). The challenge coin tradition: Do you know how it started? https://www.defense.gov/News/Inside-DOD/Blog/article/2567302/the-challenge-coin-tradition-do-you-know-how-it-started

2. Staff, U. T. (2020, September 6). Historical happenings: Many of the world’s most important events every year since 1920. USAToday. https://www.usatoday.com/picture-gallery/life/2020/09/06/the-worlds-most-important-event-every-year-since-1920/42346845

3. Saechao, J. (2024, February 27). 13 Most valuable challenge coins (RAREST List). CoinValueChecker. https://www.coinvaluechecker.com/rare-challenge-coins-worth-money

4. Heather. (2024, March 18). 11 of the Most Rare Military Challenge Coins Ever Given. Custom Challenge Coins. https://customchallengecoins.net/rare-challenge-coins

5. Invisible. (2015, March 11). The military tradition That’s a Morale-Booster—and a drinking game. Slate Magazine. https://www.slate.com/blogs/the_eye/2015/03/11/roman_mars_99_invisible_challenge_coins_are_designed_as_currency_for_military.html

6. NATIONAL LEAGUE OF FAMILIES OF AMERICAN PRISONERS & MISSING IN SOUTHEAST ASIA. (n.d.). NATIONAL LEAGUE OF FAMILIES OF AMERICAN PRISONERS & MISSING IN SOUTHEAST ASIA. https://www.pow-miafamilies.org

7. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. (2023, December 18). This week in AFLCMC History - December 18 - 31, 2023. https://www.aflcmc.af.mil/NEWS/Article-Display/Article/3620980/this-week-in-aflcmc-history-december-18-31-2023

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